How to Work Well with Your Wedding Coordinator
So, the day is finally here!
All the hard work, preparation, planning and hard work is about to pay off. You’ve, in your infinite wisdom, hired a wedding coordinator to protect your investment and allow you to actually enjoy your wedding day. Here are some tips if you decide to work with a personal wedding coordinator:
Assume s/he knows nothing! If your wedding coordinator is coming in about a month prior to your wedding (as most should), s/he hasn’t been with you throughout your planning process and doesn’t know the details of your wedding. Take this time to bring them up to speed and leave nothing out: share your vendor contracts, disputes, ideas and changes so that they are able take everyone’s needs into consideration when building the timeline and coordinating other vendors. For example, a typical mishap that occurs when couples forget that their vendors have requested a meal for the wedding day (hot or otherwise). Believe it or not, this can change the entire course of the day, but could’ve been easily prevented with earlier preparation.
Tell the family secrets. The same thing applies to any important family history your coordinator needs to be aware of. If your parents do not get along, it would be highly problematic to seat them together. If your sister is prone to dramatic displays or your maid of honor has a peanut allergy, again—let your coordinator know as far in advance as possible. What may seem little to you could ultimately disrupt well-laid plans that have been set.
Get your stuff together. If you are incorporating many DIY projects or personal items into your decor, you need to have them assembled, labeled, numbered, etc. at least one week prior to the wedding. It’s not really fair to dump a box of various pieces on your coordinator and her staff expecting them to turn your mess into fabulous. Here are some great examples:
- If you are utilizing escort cards, have them alphabetized and boxed, ready to be laid out. If you are offering different meal selections, use a colored place card (as opposed to a card that holds a graphic of the meal choice). This makes it easier for the caterer’s staff to visually see who gets what at the table. Be sure to provide your coordinator with a list of the table assignments for each person. This helps her work with your guests quickly if they become lost or there is a question as to table settings.
- There are some decorative items that can be scored from retailers to add a personal, unique touch to your wedding. Remember to use Goo Gone to remove any stickers/adhesive, scuff marks, etc. We typically keep some in our kit for emergencies, but it works best when it has a chance to sit on whatever is going to be removed.
- If you are particular as to how some elements should be pieced together, provide an image of what it is you want as well as detailed instructions. Otherwise, you may be disappointed with what the staff comes up with.
Decide who will have the last word. When your coordinator works with you to build your timeline and event preparation documents, it will be assumed the details are final. It can be extremely frustrating to arrive and begin working on what has been decided and agreed upon to have someone come along (your mother, bridesmaids, etc.) change the entire flow of things because they feel their way is better. These unauthorized changes have the potential of throwing off several other vendors who are relying on your coordinator’s information (timelines, setup docs, etc.). What may seem like a small change can affect several other vendors. Make sure that you give your coordinator or someone else who knows the entire scope of the wedding final authority.
I know I have lots of other wedding planner/coordinator friends out there—what are some of your tips for working well with your coordinating team?
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Thanks for the post! Something notable to mention is that different planners require different strategies. You deal with each one different. Here is another helpful blog I found on that:
Great advice as always!
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Jay Crihfield - Chicago Wedding Photographer
Fantastic post! With more and more brides opting to go with a “day-of” coordinator rather than using a full service planner, there can often be confusion between how “hands-on” a bride wants a coordinator to be and what the actual role is. Great information to consider when hiring a DOC!
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